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Hic, Haec, Hockey

The Vent

By W. STEPHEN Venable

It is said that Harvard has a language of its own.

You know the drill. Instead of T.A.s we have T.F.s, proctors instead of R.A.s and concentrations instead of majors. Getting used to the language of Harvard is part of getting used to the school.

Likewise, following a particular sport involves learning the game's language. Such is the task of a Southerner who comes to the hockey-loving Northeast.

I, like hundreds of other Harvard students, witnessed my first-ever hockey game upon arriving at Harvard. I was confused by the game and did not know one bit of hockey-talk.

Aaahh, but how I have learned these past three months!

In an effort to help out my fellow hockey neophytes, I now feel compelled to share my newly-found knowledge.

So, without further adieu, I present to you the Novice Southern Man's Dictionary of Hockey:

1) The Biscuit--The biscuit is the puck. I guess they call it this because it is round and cylindrical like a biscuit. I can find no similarities, however, between a puck and a biscuit. I mean, come on, a puck is rock hard, and where I come from a biscuit is a fluffy, buttery roll you use to sop up grits and gravy.

2) Lighting the lamp--Scoring a goal. This has got to be the most literal hockey definition there is. Whenever anyone scores a goal, the officially dressed guy sitting behind the net flips a switch which turns on a red light signifying the goal. What a concept!

3) Icing--Punting the puck. As best I can tell, icing occurs when you send the puck from your side of center ice to the other end in order to get into a better defensive position.

This is the same concept as a punt in football. There is only one difference: in hockey you are punished for your punt. The puck is brought back to your end of the ice before play can begin again.

Could you imagine if a punt in football was brought back to the punting team's end of the field?

4) One-timing the puck--If my roommate didn't have a Nintendo game in which you can one-time the puck, I wouldn't have a clue as to what this was. My best guess would be that it is how I should treat my girlfriend (I shouldn't two time her, after all.)

Incidentally, the term means shooting the puck directly off a pass, only touching the "biscuit" one time.

5) The pipes--The goal. The goalie stands between the pipes.

If I was a goalie, I think I would be smoking the pipes!

6) Odd-man rush--I have no idea.

7) Five-hole--Scoring through the legs of the goalie. You know, through the wickets, a nutmeg, etc.

I guess this one is kind of obvious, too. The goalie has got to shut the five-hole to avoid being an a--hole.

8) Sieve--Yet another term for the goalie. But this time the sieve is the goalie for the other team.

Shoot, I didn't even know what a real sieve was before I went to a hockey game. (And yet I'm at Harvard--figure that one out.)

9) Zamboni--The big machine that cleans the ice. I would have guessed Zamboni was a mobster, but hey, what do I know?

What I do know is this: I'm still a hockey novice, but after three more season of this stuff, I'll be a pro.

Then I'll be able to tell you what odd-man rushes are. I'll know all the rules for icing, and you won't be able to get anything through my five-hole.

Until then, I'll stick to cow tipping and watermelon seed spitting.

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